Creative Sydney: Making it Happen

We were very honoured to be asked to be on the panel discussion at Creative Sydney’s ‘Making it Happen’ session last night. For those who didn’t make it along we have included our intro film below about some of the stats of what goes into one of our events. The time lapse camera was filming from 8am – 10pm the first day of the Sydney May Markets that were currently held at CarriageWorks. This is only a part of the area at CarriageWorks that we were filling, not to mention two extra rooms and the art and music area!

The Finders Keepers from kodamapixel on Vimeo.

Video Capture: Lukasz Karluk
Post Production: Scott Brown
Music Composition: Eli Murray (Track: gentleforce – “Learning to Forgive”)

To capture the essence of our talk here is some of the points we shared (and some extras that we wanted to share!)

Identifying the need/ birth of our idea:
We firstly identified the need of the markets this was out of:
– our own personal frustrations as designers.
– being part of every market/ exhibition possible and feeling discouraged and disheartened by our experiences.
– lack of opportunities for emerging artists/ designers.
– for what was on offer it was competitive and intimidating.
– being bored & uninspired of the current markets/ events in Sydney.
– searching for something that didn’t quite exist.

Adapting processes already in place:
– We assessed what we liked & didn’t like about the current markets/ events we had been to.
– Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel we adapted and planned from what we had experienced.
– We wanted a fun inspiring environment that was accessible to everyone, so we thought about the elements that would create that.

– Starting from nothing we had to be resourceful and do alot of the work ourselves, or work on ways that we could do it for low-cost/ free!
– Alot of the work we didn’t know how to do we had friends to lend a hand, and others in the design community that helped us.
– Strength in partnership and building community, developing commited followers and people to support our vision.
– ‘Work in progress’ mentality – continually growing, learning and developing after each event.

Quality Control:
– Standard and consitency was an important factor for us, and a concept we really wanted to push.
– We felt at the time of starting in 2007, there was little to no quality benchmark in market based events in Australia.
– Developing and investing in handmade work, and the concept of quality before quantity.
– Innovative and unique work, nuturing creative standards.
– Curation of the markets to feel like an exhibition, this was something we had to build over time.
– Maintaining intergrity and never compromising what we stand for, however always evolving.

Passion for Change:
– Passion for changing and developing the art & design community in Sydney.
– Being open to developing the process as we went along meant things organically started to grow.
– Our aim was to change the way that emerging independent design was percieved in Sydney.
– Maintaining ethics and a non-profit mentality, putting all the money back into the growth of our events.

Developing ideas into action:
– Not waiting for a business plan to happen, acting on the moment and opportunity.
– Learn by doing & sometimes failing, not being scared to learn the hard way.
– Key area of our development was learning from our mistakes, evaluating them and moving on.
– Being open to develop our ideas and the input of others.

There is also a whole list of great videos & podcasts up on the Creative Sydney blog from other talks and presentations over the past week.

Special thanks to:
Scott Brown from Angrypixel for the below images & for the film editing of the wonderful video.

And lastly… some behind the scenes pics!

Registration at the Finders Keepers bump-in. Courtney, Frankie & Sarah.

Michelle & Brooke preparing the mushrooms around the stage.

A month of preparation to create this beautiful installation!

Preparation in the lead up before the event.

Stallholders starting the bump-in process.


  • Georgie says:

    you guys were awesome!! congrats!

  • Jen Djula says:

    So very inspiring – and marketing extraordinaires! jx

  • kass says:

    fantastic video – wish I’d heard the discussion!

  • Alan says:

    Just watched the video after learning about FINDERS KEEPERS watching one of the post-Creative Sydney 2010 videos where the owners of FK spoke about it.

    The two times I have been in Sydney (2001 and 2005) I wandered around much of the central part of the city and came across the ROCKS. I remember in 2005 one Saturday wandering the ROCKS through an arts and crafts fair. Was that one of FK’s events?

  • Finders Keepers says:

    Hi Alan – No that was not a Finders Keepers event. That would of been the Rocks weekend or night markets. We started ours in 2007 as Hope Street Markets, and then moved on to work at CarriageWorks in 2008 as the Finders Keepers.

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